A Wabi-Sabi Approach

by Rona Berg

Most cultures have an appreciation for imperfection. Perhaps the most notable is the concept of wabi-sabi from Japan. “It’s a way of life that celebrates the perfectly imperfect—beauty found in unusual, unfashionable places, and in moments usually overlooked or unappreciated,” say Julie Pointer Adams, author of Wabi-Sabi Welcome.

Americans, not so much. We seek perfection in the U.S.: a perfect body, perfect children, perfect living room and more. We put undue pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to be happy, which, not surprisingly, only leads to a great deal of disappointment and unhappiness.

Perfection is boring because it is cookie-cutter. What makes something unique is what makes it imperfect: a small crack in a beautiful handmade mug, a dark grain on an old wooden shelf, a patch of rust on a beautiful enamel jar, your own unique way of doing things.

You might say that author Leanne Brown takes a wabi-sabi approach to cooking in Good Enough, her new cookbook with a tagline that reads “Embracing the joys of imperfection and practicing self-care in the kitchen.” The book is full of easy, scrumptious recipes that are, excuse the expression, absolutely perfect for an easy lunch and quick dinner. Enjoy!

Cauliflower-Cheese Pita Sandwich
Makes 2 or 3 sandwiches
1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
2 or 3 white or whole wheat pitas
Yogurt or sour cream
Fresh spinach
Chopped scallions, for garnish (optional)

Note: If you’re doing meal prep, you can roast the cauliflower ahead of time and store it, covered, in the fridge for a few days until you’re ready to make sandwiches.

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. To prepare your cauliflower for roasting, cut away the green leaves, core and any woodier white parts of the stem. Break the cauliflower apart into florets and spread it out on the prepared sheet pan.

3. Drizzle the olive oil and Dijon mustard over the cauliflower florets and sprinkle them with the salt. Using clean hands, toss the cauliflower until every floret is coated.

4. Roast the cauliflower until the florets are a nice deep brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and turn off the oven. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the cauliflower and place the pan back in the oven to let the residual heat melt the cheese, about 5 minutes.

5. Cut or tear the pita bread in half lengthwise and spoon a tablespoon or so of yogurt into each pita half. Fill the pouch with a handful of spinach leaves and then scoop in the cheesy cauliflower. Sprinkle with scallions, if using. Serve hot or let cool and eat when ready.

Excerpted from Good Enough: A Cookbook by Leanne Brown, illustrations by Allison Gore. Workman Publishing © 2022

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